DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 30th, 2006


In my eyes this is easily our best newsletter ever - we have many new (and great) films, classic DVDs are incredibly reasonable prices and reviews of work directed by Von Sternberg, Zinnemann, Zhang Yimou, John Ford, Ang Lee, Fellini, Riefenstahl, Jancsó, Orson Welles, an Indie director and more... plus some new super Amazon deals! It's too much - I better go lie down for a while.


MORE Good NEWS: Esteemed journalist Jonathan Rosenbaum will be writing a serious of articles exclusively for DVDBeaver! STAY TUNED!


Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.


More Sales At Amazon.UK (All Goddesses half off - except for Doris Day!?!?)

The 39 Steps (68% off), The Fallen Idol (43% off), Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (40% off), Katherine Hepburn - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Rita Hayworth - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Barbara Stanwyck - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Sophia Loren - 6-disc Screen Goddess Collection (52% off), Mae West - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)


Godard's Breathless marked down at Amazon.UK from £19.99 to £7.97, a 60% saving HERE


Warner's Film Noir Volume #3 will include:
Border Incident
, His Kind of Woman, Lady in the Lake, On Dangerous Ground, and The Racket

3 Films by Malle now 25% off at Amazon HERE


Artificial Eye's Apu Trilogy has just been marked down from £49.99  to £39.99 at Amazon.UK! - get the three Satyajit Ray classics for a decent price HERE!


RECOMMENDATIONS:  It would be much easier if I listed what I don't recommend from this weeks crop of reviews. Easy choice - at less than $20 Pre-Order price - Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection is the deal of the year!- the films are like another world of style over substance - its so cool. Audrey Hepburn is one fascinating actress and I think The Nun's Story may be her best role... ever. Certain movies would go with me to a desert island and The Story of Qui Ju is definitely one of them - I get such a charge out of this film and the new Sony DVD is righteous! Possibly Brokeback Mountain is the most moving love story I have seen in years.. homophobes beware! Have you seen Love Me Tonight it's FABULOUS! You'll think about it days after... and you'll have a big smile on your face too! And after you get in the mood with that, switch to Vivacious Lady.  I wish the DVD news on The Magnificent Ambersons was better but its the film that gets the nod while region 1 drags its heels. I know we have this rep of snubbing a lot of modern Hollywood tripe but I was knocked off my seat with the new King Kong. It's a heck of a ride. Fellini completists should nab Fellini's Casanova and Ginger and Fred - strong DVDs - solid extras! Dive into Jancsó's harrowing masterpiece - The Red and the White. Master's of Cinema never disappoints - John Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island.

Guilty Pleasure: Tarantula - 50's sci-fi with a giant Tarantula! - nuff' said.


New Reviews:

Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection - this 5 film DVD collection is the undisputed Deal of the Month - Undeniably one of the most beautiful and dazzling actresses to ever grace the silver screen, Marlene Dietrich was renowned for her sultry voice and her alluring "bedroom eyes." See how the new NTSC discs match up against the PAL counterparts. DVD Released April 4th, 2006

The Nun's Story - Belgian nun (Hepburn) is first confronted by the rigorousness of the order, but when she leaves for the Congo and nursing, contact with the world in the form of a handsome, agnostic doctor (Finch) puts the film on more conventional territory. One of both Zinnemann and Hepburn's best efforts. DVD Released April 4th, 2006

Films of Faith Collection - The Films of Faith Collection features three tales of spiritual discovery which celebrate lives of purpose and inspiration, The Nun's Story, The Shoes of the Fisherman and The Miracle of Our Lady Fatima. Pre-order for less than $20 is a steal. DVD Released April 4th, 2006

The Story of Qui Ju - This film seems to have been ambitiously striving for quite a handful... and achieves all its goals with proud, unpretentious glory. Both having a neo-realism feel, both showing the more detailed levels of the cultural justice system at the grass-roots level and both are expressive in both subtle complexity and simplistic mannerisms. A masterpiece and the new DVD is the better! DVD Released March 28th, 2006

The Prisoner of Shark Island - Based on the true-life case of the incarceration of Dr. Samuel Mudd (Oscar-winning Warner Baxter), The Prisoner of Shark Island is a stirring account of the victimization of a simple man. This fast-moving and gripping drama — rarely seen and remarkably timeless — follows Mudd through a calamitous series of brutal encounters. DVD Released March 20th, 2006

Brokeback Mountain - 'Brokeback Mountain' runs to almost isolated perfection for its first 3/4's running time - it falls back slightly - and eventually rises in a delicate conclusion to give us Ang Lee's best offering to date. This is not a good film - this is a great film. This is not simply a 'gay love story' but rather a sublime, courageous, touching and heartfelt story of desire... and yes, the star-crossed lovers happen to be male, and happen to be cowboys too. DVD Released April 4th, 2006

Visions of Light - Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to Do the Right Thing. DVD Released March 27th, 2006

Fellini's Casanova - Fellini's approach is to unravel the myth of the great libertine and rewrite him as not merely depraved - this much is known - but as a romantic failure and a bankrupt cultural icon. This he does through the force of his imagination rather than through the strength of his storytelling.

Ginger and Fred - It is hard not to be won over by Giulietta Masina at her best. This tiny, expressive actress had an air of Chaplin's tramp about her, and the requisite ability to simultaneously break and lift hearts.

Love Me Tonight - Love it forever. Along with Swing Time and perhaps one of Busby Berkeley's best, this film stands as the greatest musical of the 1930s and one of the finest ever. Although the film seems very much in a Lubitsch vein, Rouben Mamoulian directed it, and he is perhaps most responsible for its stunning appeal.

Triumph of the Will - Triumph of the Will is one of the most important films ever made. Not because it documents evil--more watchable examples are being made today. And not as a historical example of blind propaganda--those (much shorter) movies are merely laughable now. No, Riefenstahl's masterpiece--and it is a masterpiece, politics aside--combines the strengths of documentary and propaganda into a single, overwhelmingly powerful visual force. DVD Released March 27th, 2006

The Red and the White - Through its stylistic virtuosity, ritualistic power and sheer beauty, Jancsó invites us to study the mechanisms of power almost abstractly and with a cold eroticism that clearly portrays the utter futility of war. DVD Released March 27th, 2006

Tarantula - This 50's sci-fi staple has all the expected clichés... from the small isolated town (Desert Rock in rural Arizona) to the skeptical Sheriff (Nestor Paiva) - from the suspicious young doctor (John Agar) linked to the ultra feminine heroine (Mara Corday). Plus where would we be without the loner experimenting professor (Leo G. Carroll) whose scientific, but well meaning, intrusion in nature's scheme produces the titled monster.

Vivacious Lady - Vintage George Stevens comedy, dating from the brief period in which his deliberate style was a deepening virtue, stopping short of the ossification that cursed his later work. College professor James Stewart marries showgirl Ginger Rogers; Beulah Bondi and Charles Coburn are the parents who must be mollified.

The Magnificent Ambersons - Orson Welles was not only a genius—he played one on the screen. The most lavishly gifted Hollywood director of his generation, this all-around showboat both lived and dramatized the self-serving Promethean spectacle of the outsize artistic temperament laid low by the constraints of commerce.

Memoirs of a Geisha - In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto's Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's bitter rival, Mameha. DVD Released March 27th, 2006

Plan 10 From Outer Space - The films of Trent Harris are something else. Quietly building a significant cult following over the years, Harris’ work displays an eccentric originality that is rarely found in contemporary movies. This is not a sequel to Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, but rather one of the best surrealist Mormon mysteries you are likely to ever come across, and a righteous musical to boot.

King Kong - As a reviewer who does not generally delve into this territory of film (the modern CGI-infused epic) I am still quite susceptible to the enormity of such a grand spectacle. After some of the more adventurous and aggressive scenes its hard not to whisper 'Wow' to yourself. DVD Released March 27th, 2006

The Long Good Friday - The Long Good Friday is a textbook example of what a commercial British picture should be - which makes it all the more ironic that, due to various legal snarl-ups, the film was never actually given a wide release in UK cinemas. DVD Released April 4th, 2006

Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:


49th Parallel (Michael Powell, 1941) 2-disc Warner Home Vidéo - France

Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger, 1947) 2-disc Warner Home Vidéo - France

Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) Universal

Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection - (Man of the World, We’re Not Dressing, Hands Across the Table, Love Before Breakfast, The Princess Comes Across and True Confession) MCA Video

The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Special Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Andrew Adamson , 2005) Walt Disney Video

La Double vie de Véronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Region 1- NTSC

Films of Faith Collection - ("The Nun's Story", "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima", "The Shoes of the Fisherman" - also sold separately) - Warner

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell and Pressburger, 1943) 2-disc Warner Home Vidéo - France

Mae West: The Glamour Collection - This two-disc set (1xDVD14, 1xDVD9) includes 5 films: Night After Night, I’m No Angel, Goin’ To Town, Go West Young Man and My Little Chickadee MCA Video

Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection: Morocco, Blonde Venus, The Devil is a Woman, Flame of New Orleans and Golden Earrings.) MCA Video

Mel Brooks Box Set Collection - (Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety (DVD Debut), History of the World Part 1, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (DVD Debut), Silent Movie (DVD Debut), To Be or Not to Be (DVD Debut), The Twelve Chairs (DVD Debut), Young Frankenstein) 20th Century Fox

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (John Brahm, 1952) Warner Home Video

The Nun's Story (Fred Zinnemann, 1959) Warner Home Video

Planet of the Apes: Ultimate Dvd Collection (14-disc) 20th Century Fox

The Red Shoes (Powell and Pressburger, 1948) 2-disc Warner Home Vidéo - France

Renoir Silents - La Fille de l'eau / Sur un air de Charleston / La petite marchande d'allumettes (Jean Renoir - silents) - No English subtitles - Studio Canal

Seven Beauties (Lina Wertmüller, 1975) Koch Lorber Films

The Shoes of the Fisherman (Michael Anderson, 1968) Warner Home Video

Takeshis' (Takeshi Kitano, 2005) Bandai Visuals

Ushpizin (Gidi Dar, 2005) New Line


Week of April 9th

Laurel and Hardy Giftset (Great Guns / Jitterbugs / The Big Noise) - 20th Century Fox


Week of April 17th, 2006

The Chess Players (Satyajit Ray, 1977) Kino Video

L'Enfant (Dardenne Brothers, 2005) blaq out R2 France

The Laurel and Hardy Collection (The Devil's Brother / Bonnie Scotland) - TCM Archives - Warner

The Complete Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report) - (Orson Welles, 1962) Criterion Collection

Second Circle (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1990) Kino Video

Swamp Water (Jean Renoir, 1941) Fox [R2-UK]

Toni (Jean Renoir, 1934) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK]


I am in a great mood and hope you are too!





P.P.S. Apologies if I have delays in answering email- I am swamped these days.


P.P.P.S. If you read this far you must be as keen as I am so let's tell some truths - I am busting my ass these days because we are starting down a slow slope to bankruptcy. If doesn't seem to matter how many reviews we pump out we are slowly losing money to expenses (What else can I do? - tell me! It is so $%#$ frustrating). If you contribute or buy from our Amazon or YesAsia links, we want you to know we appreciate your help... whether we stick around for the whole year or not this time, its people like you who keep us going! - THANKS!